Monday, December 1, 2008

Back of the House on Xmas

Adam Seger of Nacional 27 (Photo: Brenden Lekan Photography)

Restaurant Intelligence Agency's new Back of the House feature highlights holiday memories from local food and beverage stars:

What will be on your holiday dinner table this year?

Jill Barron (executive chef, MANA food bar): Oysters and caviar for Christmas Eve.

Tim Dahl (pastry chef, Blackbird): I grew up with kjottboller and lefse. This year it'll be lasagna and seafood soup.

Dirk Flanigan (executive chef, The Gage): Turkey with garlic and basil under the skin; crown of oyster and foie gras stuffing, with duck confit; the now famous Brie, bacon and Brussels sprouts; vanilla sweet potatoes with Spanish chorizo; cavatelli with a pot of my wife's homemade sauce.

Josh Kaplan (general manager/sommelier, mk): Traditional fare. My family does the cooking, not me. Although, every year my favorite item is the caramelized onion tart from Foodstuffs.

Carrie Nahabedian (executive chef, NAHA): For Christmas, we always do prime rib, whole-roasted with great rich side dishes: compote of pearl onions with bacon and cognac, celery root dauphinoise, roasted squash with hickory nuts. And all of my aunts' favorite cookies: cherry wonders, cream cheese chocolate chip cookies, toffee squares, nut cups, buckeye balls, cherry jewels.

Adam Seger (manager, beverage director, Nacional 27): A deep-fried turkey, a pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin from the Green City Market with a real lard crust and a two-year aged black-walnut-fed Newsome's country ham from Kentucky.

Erick Williams (executive chef, mk): Turkey dressing (as opposed to stuffing) -- a traditional family recipe that my mother makes using cornbread instead of regular bread. Giblet gravy, braised mustard and turnip greens, beef roast, turkey, tomato-stewed green beans, chitterlings, sweet potato pie, bread pudding, pecan tart.

Shelley Young (chef/owner, The Chopping Block): Traditional for sure. Mom cooks Christmas.

Observe World AIDS Day


Today's the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, so if you're looking to commemorate, 312DD's rounded up a few events:

Join others at W-Lakeshore's Living Room for an online viewing party for the launch of RED (WIRE), a new digital music magazine launched by U2 frontman Bono. For a $5 monthly fee, subscribers get access to exclusive tracks from artists like John Legend, Sheryl Crow, Coldplay and Jay Z. A portion of the proceeds benefits programs combating AIDS in Africa. Monitors will be set up carrying the live feed, as well as computer kiosks for people to sign up. All evening, you can also order the INSPI(RED) pomegranate-infused cocktail, with a portion of those proceeds benefiting (RED)WIRE). 3-11pm. No cover.

Green Dolphin Street's weekly Boom Boom Room observes the occasion with a special set by global spin star Ron Trent. He'll spin deep house, Latin and Afro-Latin beats, but arrive early for a special AIDS-themed fashion show produced by Fashion Empire. $5 Effen cocktails. 9pm-4am. $10.

And tickets are still available for the annual World of Chocolate party happening at the Chicago Hilton and Towers (720 S. Michigan Ave.) on Dec. 3. Sponsored by AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the party features sweet treats from more than 30 local restaurants, caterers and chocolatiers in an effort to fight HIV/AIDS. Participating restaurants including China Grill, Bistro Campagne, Mado and Terry's Toffee. You'll also get appetizers, open bar, live jazz and a holiday bazaar for those last-minute gifts. 6-10pm. Tickets start at $75.